One thing is certain in life – everything is dynamic, ever changing, nothing is immobile, static, stable. Human beings, animals, plants, planets, the Universe itself – all go through various stages: growth and maturity, followed by decline, resignation, serenity. A perpetual cycle. Individuals cross each of these thresholds alone – only you can perform the transformations, even though, at times, you can be accompanied, guided, supported by others.
Matisse | Woman on a Terrace (1906-07) ♦ The personage sits on a chair and looks to her right – towards the future, possibly. Alone. She appears to be gazing at someone … or something. Warm hues of red, orange and yellow – colours suggesting energy, action, vibrancy – counterbalanced by the green of the hills – hope, isn’t it? – by the blue of the boats – slight moderation – and the gray of the blouse – lingering memories of a possible loss? Solitude – a new beginning.
Monet | The Garden Hollyhocks (1877) ♦ A lush, exotic garden where nature erupts in full force, in all its splendor – savage, indecent, overwhelming – surrounds the woman who walks on an alley leading somewhere … The personage’s attire bears the same opulence – the dress and pleated overcoat, even the flowers she carries in her hand. Only the path she walks on allows for some sort of passage – a space where one can move, recollect, advance. The white of the dress, reiterated in the flowers on the left, calms down the green exuberance, along with the few stains of red. Solitude – growth, effusion, exuberance.
Van Gogh | The Siesta (1890) ♦ It’s harvest time. The wheat is ripe. Time to pick up what has been sown. This means work, effort, dedication. Intermission, as well. The yellowness of the wheat plain feels scorching hot. Hues of blue and violet appease it, cooling down the air slightly. The two personages repose in the shade of a haystack – a moment of respite, of regaining and strengthening forces in the summer of one’s life. It is the summit. There follows the descent. Solitude – maturity – experience.
Dali | Melancholy (1942) ♦ Although seemingly calm, the woman – behind a sturdy, immobile piece of furniture -, confronts her melancholy, hazy, troubled and unsettled thoughts. The movements of the clouds in the sky, the gameplay of the personages on the cloud, as well as the trumpeting angel in the foreground (he heralds something, doesn’t he?) describe the woman’s inner state, in fact. Yet another almost perfect balance between the Earth and the sky, the warm earthy hues and the cold celestial blue, the static and the dynamic. A solitude signaling a period of descent, chaos, torment.
Munch | Melancholy (1891) ♦ The personage is set against a shapeless, chaotic, bleak, oppressive, uncertain milieu. The vaguely contoured paysage – paradoxically, only the faraway scene, a possible symbol of the past, is more clearly outlined and defined – appears to be a reflection of the man’s thoughts. Nevertheless, his face and hands and certain changing shapes are open; bright, even. Somewhere, out of chaos, a certain hope sprouts – the beginning of a division, a new order.
Gaugain | Nevermore (1897) ♦ To start anew suggests to abandon something old. The woman seems to have understood this – she may have left behind relationships or passions, turned her back to gossips and mundane stories which, apparently, mean nothing for her. The warm yellow of her skin and of the pillow she rests her head on announces the revelation. The bird watching her – could it represent her soul?! – accompanies her in the journey towards her inner self. Solitude – abandonment, resignation – the dawn of a new cycle of creation.
Da Vinci | Mona Lisa (1503) ♦ Mona Lisa’s enigmatic, sagacious smile reveals a state of meditation. The finesse of her smile goes along with the grace of her tranquil hands resting on the arm of the chair. It is the “big rest” before a new creation. The golden, warm light of the personage’s complexion indicates that she has fully grasped the lesson of life and is now prepared for what it is to follow. Solitude as tranquility and meditation, preceding resumption.
Life is not linear. It is not a never-ending accumulation of things – even though the contemporary society attempts to make believe otherwise. In order to evolve, to move on to another stage, it is always necessary to abandon, to lose, to let something “die” inside oneself. And these cycles ever recurring in the existence of humans and the Universe make life more interesting, more challenging, more mysterious and more miraculous.
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Text ✒ LOREDANA JEFLEA
Translation ⇔ ADINA SHOLLENBARGER
Cover photo © RALUCA CIORNEA